Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Phone

The phone ringing... It sort of gives me the same feeling of revulsion I get when I hear the cat retching and know I'll have to stop what I'm reading or writing, get up from my comfy chair and out of the happy place in my head and clean a disgusting mess. The phone invades my privacy. It robs me of valuable free time. It makes me sad. Caller ID has helped immensely, but I still shudder in disgust as I listen to those four endless rings. Actually, there are many times I'd prefer scrubbing cat vomit to talking on the phone.

Ok, a quick disclaimer lest I offend: The calls letting me know about the family birthday party or the change in plans are the reason I still HAVE a phone. I want to know if so-and-so is in the hospital and I need that reminder that you'll be gone on Saturday and want me to get your mail.

It's not even the telemarketers or donation solicitors who have driven me to my phone hatred, it's the pointless babbling calls that invade my day and make me feel like I just got smacked in the face with a two-by-four. I have actually stalled and ended budding friendships based on the fear they are one of "those people" who will call me nonstop. My phone phobia has gotten much worse as I have gotten older, and now includes making calls such as doctor appointments. Phobia isn't the right word, I'm not AFRAID of the phone, I just hate the time commitment of being put on hold and asked the same questions over and over. For example, I now have Fridays off (instead of Mondays) and could actually have a "real" hair cutter person (yeah, sorry, I know they have a title) but I choose to stick with the walk-in places so I don't have to make the appointment calls.

Back to the donation solicitors, survey takers, etc. Gene also hates the phone and these calls, but we have opposite ideas about what level of courtesy to provide. I am of the belief these folks are doing their job to make a buck and are NOT out to pull me out of my happy place and ruin my night. I don't think they deserve rude treatment, but I prefer to cut off their spiel, tell them no thank-you and hang up. Why would they want to recite their entire spiel BEFORE I say no? Gene feels it's rude to cut them off and will let them go on for several minutes before his rejection. Does anyone have thoughts on this? Is it more rude to cut them off or to make them speak? Not that I care, I won't EVER listen to the full spiel, I'm just curious. I'm not against the individual calling, but I AM against the organization they are calling for! I will likely NEVER donate a penny of my money (on the phone, at least) to veteran or police organizations! Veterans and police are WONDERFUL, but their charities have called me too many times and they are permanently cut off. No soup for you!

How about cell phones? I got my first cell phone when I was pregnant with Logan and Kaylin was 2. It was all about emergencies. If the car broke down and I had a baby and a toddler, I needed the phone. I don't think ANYONE but Gene had the number and I barely used the thing. That was 8 years ago and one of the first "pay as you go" phones. I still don't use a cell enough to bother with a contract, but I have learned the joys of texting. I still don't get the OBSESSION, but I love a quick text instead of an actual call. I now carry my cell most of the time and actually remember to check it most days. I still only need to add minutes maybe twice a year, but I use it a lot more than I used to.

Kaylin's in 5th grade. I'm almost positive that at her age I was calling friends nonstop. Maybe I was a little older, but I don't think so. I can probably count the number of times Kaylin's called friends on ONE HAND. I think it's interesting that she's so disconnected because the phone is so underemphasized in our home. In this age of email and texting, the land line is almost obsolete for our house of phone haters. I remember my mom yelling at me to get off the phone in case someone was trying to call with important news. I can't imagine having the same issues with Kaylin! When she gets "into" the phone, she can have it!

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